The outcrops of the Raritan Formation, of the Late Cretaceous in New Jersey (Turonian, ca. 90 mybp), have been particularly rich in charcoalified plant remains from diverse lineages, including ferns, conifers, Ericales, Magnoliales, Caryophyllaceae, Clusiaceae, Hamamelidaceae, and Triuridaceae. A new fossil taxon is represented by several fossils including part of an inflorescence. The flowers are small (1.8mm high by 1.5mm wide) and have half-inferior ovaries. Each ovary is composed of two basally fused carpels. There are two distinct stigmas, and dehiscence is biaxial apical. The flowers have ten stamens or staminodia in a single whorl. Based upon attachment scars, there appear to be five tepals in a single whorl arranged on the rim of the hypanthium. One flower has retained an incurved, clawed tepal. Pollen grains are small (ca. 10-15 mm). They occur as clumps on the stigmas, carpels and "staminodes". Pollen is tricolpate with no apparent endoaperture and coarsely scabrate colpus membranes. Pollen morphology, ovary dehiscence pattern, carpel number, and the presence of a hypanthium suggest a lower rosid affinity (e.g., Hamamelidaceae, Cunoniaceae, Saxifragales).
|Top view of inflorescence||Side view of floret||Pollen grain|
Borgardt, S. J., K. C. Nixon, and W. L. Crepet. 2000. A Turonian inflorescence bearing perigynous flowers of a lower rosid affinity. American Journal of Botany 87 (6 supp.): 66.